The Government has promised to step in and support Dublin Zoo.
The zoo this morning launched the ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign, warning that it faces permanent closure without financial support.
It said it costs €500,000 a month to care for the animals, even when the doors are shut.
This afternoon, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government would offer bailouts to both Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, which is facing similar problems.
The Government hopes the funding will help the parks survive through COVID-19 restrictions.
Micheál Martin says the government will be intervening to help Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park stay open through the pandemic
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 18, 2020
Meanwhile, Dublin Zoo said they'd raised over €500,000 in donations since their campaign launched this morning.
❤ Save Dublin Zoo ❤
Wow, we are truly lost for words and can’t believe it! We have just hit over €500,000 in donations – thank you so much!
That is enough to cover the costs of animal care at Dublin Zoo for one whole month! #SaveDublinZoo pic.twitter.com/8oa7ImY7B0
— Dublin Zoo (@DublinZoo) November 18, 2020
Earlier, the Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan said he was “hopeful that my department will be able to offer short term financial support to help tide the two main zoos past this immediate challenge.”
He said both parks carry out “important conservation work” through shared breeding programmes with other zoos and the conservation of Irish species like the natterjack toad.
Dublin Zoo has been closed since late October due to Level Five COVID-19 restrictions; however over 400 animals still need daily care.
It estimates that it has lost out on over €8m in potential revenue from gate receipts so far this year.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Gerry Creighton, Elephant keeper at Dublin Zoo said every cent from the fundraising campaign goes to care for the animals.
“It has been a difficult year and obviously animal care and welfare is what we are about and what we do.
“We need to keep that to the forefront. So, we are making a heartfelt appeal to our supporters to come and help us and make a donation.
“The thing that is unique about this funding raising, every single Euro will go direct to animal care and welfare here at Dublin zoo.”
Can you spot the alligator?
Got to see them and the elephants today at the Save Dublin Zoo campaign launch
— Kacey O'Riordan (@KaceyORiordan) November 18, 2020
Mr Creighton said the campaign was a direct appeal to the city and the people of Ireland to “keep our world-class zoo going.”
“We have had a huge influence globally with our elephant programme; I travel to zoos all over the world and people want to do it the Dublin way,” he said.
“We participate in incredible breeding programmes for rhinos, for apes, for big cats – our contribution is immense.
“We are getting an international reputation that we want to uphold and keep and that is why we are appealing, please if people can help us save our zoo, log on to DublinZoo.ie.”
Zoo management said every cent raised through the ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign will go towards the care of an animal.
It costs €25 a day to feed a red panda and €50 a day to feed a lion, while an elephant's daily diet sets the zoo back €75.
The zoo said €100 will feed a southern white rhinoceros for a week.
You can help the zoo today by donating, adopting an animal or organising your own fundraising event.
Additional reporting from Sean Defoe